By Cailey Rizzo
April 02, 2019

Tourists in Iceland were sent fleeing from a gigantic wave caused by a glacier crumbling into a lagoon over the weekend. The apocalyptic scene was captured on camera by an Icelandic tour operator.

“This area is only accessible with mountain guides and everybody shown in the video had been previously instructed to immediately leave the beach if a calving occurs,” Stephan Mantler, the mountain guide who took the video, said. “Due to the sheer size and proximity it was a bit of a close call but everybody was safe and stayed dry.”

About two dozen tourists were around Iceland's Jökulsárlón Lagoon on Sunday to look at the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, according to AccuWeather.

Mantler said he heard the distinct cracking sound of the glacier calving and took out his phone to start recording the split. The glacier’s tip fell into the water below and created rolling waves, a frozen mini-tsunami, that washed upon the rocks where tourists had been previously standing.

Calving is not uncommon, especially around this time of year in Iceland. (Mantler said he’s filmed about 10 calvings this winter alone.) All the visitors who were hiking near the glacier were instructed in safety protocol about what to do if the glacier were to suddenly calve.

Jökulsárlón Lagoon has only been in Iceland for about the past 90 years. It began to appear as the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier began melting, creating the country’s deepest lake. Scientists have warned that the glacier could completely disappear within about 200 years if it continues to melt at its current rapid rate.

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